The biggest whitetails and highest scoring Boone & Crockett harvests are the best of the best.
The Boone and Crockett Club has been measuring big game trophies and keeping track of hunting records, in some form or another, since 1887. In that time, the standards and scoring systems for whitetails, elk, and other animals have changed slightly.
However, the goal of the organization – to recognize the biggest and most impressive animals ever killed by hunters – has remained largely unchanged. In celebration of Boone and Crockett and their admirable mission, as well as of the healthy competition they’ve inspired among hunters everywhere, we decided to put together a list of six of the highest-scoring whitetails ever scored on the B&C scale.
In the hopes of being as inclusive as possible, we made a list with both typical and non-typical bucks, with the first three entries cataloging the former category and the next three slots describing the spoils of the latter.
View the slideshow to see the biggest whitetails on the Boone and Crockett scales.
1. Milo N. Hansen, 1993
The biggest ever typical buck, a 14-point beauty that notched a score of 213 5/8 on the Boone and Crockett scale, was killed on November 22, 1993 in Saskatchewan, Canada.
Legend has it that the buck – the epitome of a Moby Dick-esque beast – was spotted by a school bus driver on hunter Milo Hansen’s property in 1992, on the final day of hunting season. Unsurprisingly, Hansen didn’t have the time to get out, track, and kill the buck in 1992, leaving the monster to live and grow for another year.
When the 1993 hunting season rolled around, Hansen and his hunting buddies weren’t going to be denied again. The buck finally reared his head on November 22, almost escaping a trap set for him by Hansen and company, but was brought down by a pair of well-placed shots from Hansen’s Winchester. The near-perfect symmetry of the two antler beams – each measuring 28 4/8 inches in length – will keep Hansen’s buck in the record books for years to come.
2. Jim Jordan, 1914
If you’ve spent enough time hunting deer, you probably know about the superstition involving taxidermists who run off to Florida with their clients’ biggest bucks. Heck, this fear is probably about half of what drives hunters to do ample research into a taxidermist before hiring them for a job. Jim Jordan’s 1914 world record buck is where that story comes from.
Jim Jordan shot the buck during the Wisconsin November of 1914, dropped it off at a taxidermist, and unassumingly went on his way. The taxidermist probably realized that he had a potential world record beast on his hands, and instead of preserving it and getting it back to Jordan, he went bolting off to Florida.
About 40 or 50 years later, Robert Ludwig, one of Jordan’s cousins, bought an impressive antler display at a garage sale and decided to have Boone and Crockett representatives check it out. The antler display broke the previous world record, with a score of 206 1/8, and Ludwig was left with just about the ultimate garage sale story. It became the actual ultimate garage sale story when Ludwig showed the antlers to Jordan, who immediately recognized them as a part of his long lost buck.
3. Larry Gibson, 1971
If Jim Jordan is the luckiest deer hunter to ever get his name in the record books, then Larry Gibson might be the one on this list with the least luck. In other words, he’s as unlucky as you can be after scoring a 205 on the Boone and Crockett scale.
Gibson’s story starts out with luck, on a Missouri hunt in 1971. The hunter was looking for food, not trophies, and was more or less planning to shoot the first deer that crossed his path. Of course, the first deer that crossed Gibson’s path just happened to be this beauty, which he shot at a range of about 10 yards.
Thinking nothing of the buck’s impressive antler display, Gibson quickly processed the meat and sold the antlers for a quick $200. Here’s why he’s unlucky: first of all, 1971 was also the year that Robert Ludwig took Jim Jordan’s antler rack to Boone and Crockett, meaning that Gibson never got to claim the world record; secondly, he sold a near world record antler rack for a tiny fraction of its potential value.
1. The State of Missouri, 1981
Want to hear an example of how fickle fate can be? Look no further than the story of this massive bruiser, a 44-point non-typical which – with a score of 333 7/8 on the Boone and Crockett scale – will probably go down in history as the biggest buck ever bagged.
The funny thing is that this particular buck wasn’t bagged at all. Instead, it was found dead, apparently of natural causes, on the side of a Missouri road. Once the Missouri Department of Conservation found the buck, they inspected the body in search of cause of death. There were no signs that it had been shot, nor was there any indication that it had died of a disease.
The cause of death also wasn’t old age, since the buck was an estimated five and a half years old when it was found dead. However, that didn’t negate the size of the antler rack, which Boone and Crockett confirmed as a record breaker after a taxidermist noted the unprecedented number of points. To this day, the deer can be beheld at a museum in Missouri, by all of the hunters who can never hope to score a buck half as impressive.
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2. The State of Ohio, 1940
Here’s more cosmic injustice for you.
The second biggest non-typical buck – with a B&C score of 328 2/8 – was also not taken by a hunter. Instead, this particular deer was killed after being hit by a train.
Luckily, his head – and his insane spider-web of an antler rack – survived the ordeal well enough, first hanging on the wall in Ohio’s Kent Canadian Club and later coming into the ownership of outdoor writer Dick Idol. The buck’s B&C score was and is contentious based on the oak-like nature of his antlers.
However, there’s no doubting that one of the best bucks ever was killed not by a hunter, but by a train.
3. Tony Lovstuen, 2003
Finally, a non-typical buck killed by an actual hunter! Practically everyone in Iowa was hunting for this buck back in the early 2000s, after trail camera sightings and antler sheds showed that it might be a Boone and Crockett record contender.
The hunter who actually landed the buck, however, was only 15 years old at the time. Lovstuen got a jump on the competition by partaking in an early September youth hunt. His father tipped him off to the general location to the buck, and when the bruiser showed up, Lovstuen shot. It wasn’t a perfect hit, and the buck bolted.
Luckily, Lovstuen and his father were able to recover the deer the next morning, finding a 38-pointer with a score of 307 5/8. It’s the highest-scoring deer ever killed by a hunter, and you can be sure that there are plenty of Iowa hunters who wish Lovstuen hadn’t been there to kill it on a pre-season youth hunt.